Pile Named a Thorpe Semifinalist
Senior one of 14 to make the cut
November 6, 2002

BLACKSBURG - The field of candidates for the 2002 Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation's best college defensive back, has been narrowed to 14 players with Virginia Tech senior free safety Willie Pile among those chosen.

Three finalists will be selected on Nov. 25. The winner will be announced on ESPN's College Football Awards Show, broadcast from Disney World on Dec. 12. Formal presentation of the award will be in Oklahoma City, at the annual Jim Thorpe Awards ceremonies, Feb. 11, 2003.

Pile, a native of Alexandria, Va., is second on the team in tackles with 53. He also has three interceptions, five passes broken up, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

The Thorpe Award has been presented since 1986, based on the winner's performance on the field, athletic ability and character.

Voted the 20th century's greatest athlete in a poll by ABC's Wide World of Sports, Jim Thorpe was a two-time All American running back and defensive, the winner of decAthlon and pentAthlon gold medals in the 1912 Olympics, and a standout in both professional football and baseball. He was the first president of what became the National Football League.

Previous winners include: Roy Williams, Oklahoma, 2001; Jamar Fletcher, Wisconsin, 2000; Tyrone Carter, Minnesota, 1999; Antoine Winfield, Ohio State, 1998; Charles Woodson, Michigan, 1997; Lawrence Wright, Florida, 1996; Greg Myers, Colorado State, 1995; Chris Hudson, Colorado, 1994; Antonio Langham, Alabama, 1993; Deon Figures, Colorado, 1992; Terrell Buckley, Florida State, 1991; Darryll Lewis, Arizona, 1990; Mark Carrier, USC, 1989; Deion Sanders, Florida State, 1988; Bennie Blades, Miami, and Rickey Dixon, Oklahoma, (tie) 1987; and Thomas Everett, Baylor, 1986.

The full list of the Thorpe semifinalists is as follows:

Rod Babers, Sr, Texas
Sammy Davis, Sr, Texas A&M
Mike Doss, Sr, Ohio State
Brandon Everage, Jr, Oklahoma
Terrance Holt, Sr, N. Carolina St.
Terence Newman, Sr, Kansas St.
Willie Pile, Sr, Virginia Tech
Troy Polamalu, Sr, USC
Etric Pruitt, Jr, Southern Miss.
Stuart Schweigert, Jr, Purdue
Derrick Strait, Jr, Oklahoma
Shane Walton, Sr, Notre Dame
Dennis Weathersby, Sr, Oregon St.
Eugene Wilson, Sr, Illinois